Abdorrahman Boroumand Center

for Human Rights in Iran

Omid, a memorial in defense of human rights in Iran
One Person’s Story

Turaj Shafi'i Khaneqah


Age: 32
Nationality: Iran
Religion: Islam (Shi'a)
Civil Status: Single


Date of Killing: April 25, 2002
Location of Killing: Qasr Prison, Tehran, Tehran Province, Iran
Mode of Killing: Hanging
Charges: Disrupting public order; Assault and battery; Armed robbery

About this Case

News of the execution of Mr. Turaj Shafi’i Khaneqah, son of Avaz, along with five others, was published in the Iran newspaper on April 27, 2002. Additional information was taken from various sources including the Iran newspaper on April 22, 24, and 25, 2002 and in the Jamejam newspaper on April 24, 2002, and an electronic form sent to the Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation by a person familiar with his case.

Mr. Shafi’i Khaneqah’s case was related to his membership in a purse-napping gang called Jamileh that committed several robberies and purse-nappings in various cities including Shiraz, Esfahan, Tabriz, and Rasht in Iran and in other Persian Gulf countries between 1998 and 1999. Members of this gang consisted of 33 individuals and, according to the judge, 14 of them participated in armed robbery and extortion. Mr. Shafi’i Khaneqah, 32, was single and from Masal, Talesh. He was a high school graduate and a professional. According to the electronic form report, when he was only 10 years old, his father was shot to death during a revolutionary event on September 8, 1978. He became in charge of his family of four siblings and his mother.           

Arrest and Detention

Detectives of Branch 18 of the Intelligence Police in Tehran arrested Mr. Shafi’i Khaneqah, along with other members of the Jamileh gang. According to the judge of this case, they were arrested following some internal disputes and recovery of the near-dead body of an important member of the gang in a wilderness, and his confession three years earlier, in 1999 (Iran newspaper on April 25, 2002). According to the electronic form report, he was arrested in Tehran in the winter of 2000, and his family were not informed.

The circumstances of Mr. Shafi’i Khaneqah’s arrest and detention are not known except that he was detained at the Raja’ishahr (Gohardasht) Prison during his last months.      


Branch 15 of the Imam Khomeieni Public Court in Tehran tried Mr. Shafi’i Khaneqah in several sessions in the summer of 2001. No further information is available on his trial.  


The charges against Mr. Shafi’i Khaneqah were announced as "acts against internal security and intimidation by committing 24 armed robberies and purse-napping with threats of murder." According to the electronic form report, the charges against him were false and had been imposed on the defendants forcefully.

The validity of the criminal charges brought against this defendant cannot be ascertained in the absence of the basic guarantees of a fair trial. 

Evidence of Guilt

According to the judge of this case, the evidence presented against Mr. Shafi’i Khaneqah was “confessions of defendants” and “complaints by 200 plaintiffs.” In addition, robbery of 65 kilograms of gold, one billion Tumans worth of diamonds, coins, and cash, two purchased restaurants in Thailand and the UAE. Several houses and cars and cell phones were also considered evidence against the defendants (Iran newspaper on April 25, 2002). According to the electronic form report, no evidence existed against Mr. Shafi’i Khaneqah.  


According to the judicial report of the Iran newspaper, Mr. Shafi’i Khaneqah and four others claimed in a court session that even though they participated in armed operations, they did not harm anybody.


Branch 15 of the Public Court in Tehran identified Mr. Turaj Shafi’i Khaneqah as a “fighter against God” and “corruptor on Earth” and condemned him to death. Branch 32 of the Supreme Court confirmed the ruling. Mr. Shafi’i Khaneqah was hanged, along with another defendant of this case, at the Qasr Prison yard in Tehran on April 25, 2002 in the morning. 

According to the electronic form report, in order to avoid being hanged in public, Mr. Shafi’i Khaneqah hanged himself by his clothes in solitary confinement at Qasr Prison the night before his execution was scheduled. His body was buried at the Behesht-e Zahra cemetery in Tehran. 

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